Diet-NutritionTrans Fats

A practical review of healthy oils

Ms. Marci Landsmann, who is managing editor of Healthy Aging, has written a plain-language review.

Here are the highlights.

The best oils

  • Canola and olive oils are healthy alternatives that cover most cooking and garnish needs.
  • Canola oil is ideal for cooking, since it’s light tasting and resilient at high temperatures.
  • Olive oil is good for salads, since it has a strong flavor and is less stable at high temperatures.

Protecting yourself from unhealthy oils

  • A lot of oil intake comes from commercial food products, which are laden with processed oils.
  • Try to avoid foods that have partially hydrogenated oils, fully hydrogenated oils, and trans fats.
  • Preparing food at home is a way to avoid incorporating these unhealthy fats into the diet accidentally.

The bottom line?
Ms. Landsmann quotes Dr. Pamela White from the department of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University in Ames.

  • “Any oil a consumer picks up from the grocery shelf and uses to cook with is probably healthier than foods prepared for them by a commercial industry.”
  • “Even cooking a relatively unhealthy side dish — for example, French fries, using farm-grown potatoes and cooking oil — is likely to be healthier than picking up frozen French fries in the grocery store. That’s because frozen French fries are often pre-cooked in partially hydrogenated oil.

11/26/07 21:00 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.